How to Identify and Attract a Tree Swallow

Tree swallows arrive early in spring and may even stay all winter. When insects are unavailable, a tree swallow eats bayberries and seeds.

tree swallows on backyard wind spinnerCourtesy Lisa Faith
A pair of tree swallows

Tree Swallow Facts

Scientific Name: Tachycineta bicolor
Family: Swallow
Length: 5-3/4 inches
Wingspan: 14-1/2 inches
Distinctive Markings: Males are iridescent greenish-blue above and white below. Female may be duller.

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Nest and Eggs

Donna Brownrigg
Nestlings in a tree cavity

The female builds nest in a cavity using grass, needles and feathers, and lays up to eight white eggs. Nest boxes designed for bluebirds also attract this swallow.

Learn about swallows’ nests and nesting habits.

What Does a Tree Swallow Eat?

The hardiest swallow, it arrives early in spring and even winters over in some localities. When insects are unavailable, the tree swallow feeds mostly on bayberries; some wintering birds have also been seen picking seeds from pond ice. To attract them, grow native plants to attract bugs.

Learn how to identify 8 types of swallow birds.

tree swallowCourtesy Anne Duvall
A tree swallow singing as loud as he could about the beautiful summer day.

Tree Swallow Song

Listen to the tree swallow’s song. Typically an early-morning singer, the song is a pleasant gurgling chatter when in flight.

Bird songs provided by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.

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Range Map and Habitat

Look for these birds in open areas with scattered trees and water.

Tree Swallow Bird Species

Range maps provided by Kaufman Field Guides, the official field guide of Birds & Blooms.

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Jill Staake
Jill lives in Tampa, Florida, and writes about gardening, butterflies, outdoor projects and birding. When she's not gardening, you'll find he reading, traveling and happily digging her toes into the sand on the beach.